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Monday 01 May 2017
News updated at 11:59 PM IST

All archaic laws to be scrapped in two years: Govt

New Delhi, Mar 18, 2015, (PTI) 21:19 IST
Lok Sabha today passed a bill to repeal 35 Acts with government saying another legislation will be moved shortly for repealing 741 more archaic laws and within two years all such redundant laws will be scrapped. PTI file photo
Lok Sabha today passed a bill to repeal 35 Acts with government saying another legislation will be moved shortly for repealing 741 more archaic laws and within two years all such redundant laws will be scrapped.

"This is an initial step taken by the new government. We will see in a span of one or two years...the statute book will be cleared. And there will be no confusion as far as disposal of cases are concerned", Law Minister Sadananda Gowda said.
He was replying to a debate on 'The Repealing and Amending Bill 2014', which was later passed by voice vote.

The government initially proposed to repeal 36 laws but Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 was withdrawn from the list following observations by the Standing Committee.

Government is also set to bring a new bill in Parliament soon to repeal another set of over 741 obsolete laws, which have outlived their utility, Gowda said.

"It is true that nearly 1,741 redundant laws, which are almost dead laws, are in existence. We have already prepared a draft Bill for repealing nearly 741 Appropriation Acts. That is already ready with me. I will take it to the Cabinet for its approval," he said.

Gowda further said another Bill is already there before Rajya Sabha for 79 repealing and amending Acts. That is also being taken up immediately.

"It will be coming to this House as early as possible, when it is passed by that House. So, as far as repealing and amendments are concerned, we are working on it," he said.

"We will see that within a short span of one or two years, we hope so, all these redundant laws which are not in use, the so-called dead laws, are taken care of. Certainly, the Statute Book will be cleared so that there should not be any confusion in the process of disposing of cases," the Minister said.

"These laws at present are of no use and such dead laws create confusion if they continue in the statute books," he said.

The decision is in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's agenda to do away with archaic laws which are hindering efficient governance.

Between 1950 and 2001 over a hundred Acts have been repealed. At one time, 100 such Acts were repealed in one go.

Out of the 36 acts proposed to be repealed in the bill today, four were principal acts and others were amendments to the various acts.

However, the Standing Committee observed that the 1993 Act should be retained as several states were yet to pass resolutions to implement the 2013 Act on the subject, the Minister said.

The Acts which are sought to be repealed include amendments to the Representation of the People Act, Marriage Act, Election Laws, Divorce Laws and Anand Marriage Act and the Evidence Act.

The remaining three principal acts which have been repealed are Foreign Jurisdiction Act, Sugar Undertaking (Taking Over of Management) Act and Indian Fisheries Act.
The Law Ministry has also identified hundreds of Appropriation Acts of the Finance Ministry and the Railway Ministry which can be repealed.

While the Railway Ministry has given a go-ahead to the Law Ministry to repeal its set of old Appropriation Acts, the Finance Ministry is in the process of taking a call on the issue.
A large number of Appropriation Acts passed in the past several years have lost their meaning but these are still shown on statue books.

Appropriation Acts are intended to operate for a limited period of time -- authorising expenditures for the duration of one financial year, the Law Commission has said.

Though these Acts are not usually included in any list of Central Acts, either by the Law Ministry, or elsewhere, these laws still technically remain in the books.

In its report to the government, the Law Commission had also recommended repeal of Appropriation Acts.

Mechanisms exist in many other countries to systematically remove Appropriation Acts that have served their purpose. But in India no such mechanism is in place and Appropriation Acts continue to sit on statute books, the report had pointed out.

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